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Tech companies missing the point of social media

Posted on 26th October 2011 under Social

New report finds UK companies using social networks more than ever but aren’t being social!

  • Facebook usage amongst B2B companies soars, but only 31% use it to engage
  • Popularity of Facebook amongst B2B companies rose from 40% in 2010 to 70% in 2011
  • On average only 14% of tweets from UK tech companies were replies and only 14% were retweets
  • Only 52% of companies embedded newsfeeds in their LinkedIn account

London, 27th October 2011 – UK technology companies are missing out on the potential of social media by not being social and failing to use these new channels to engage with their audiences. According a report from tech PR agency EML Wildfire, despite a huge increase in the number of tech companies using social channels, only 31% of brands with a Facebook account used it to engage with users and, of those that used Twitter, only 14% of tweets were replies and retweets. When it came to the companies that had a blog, only 20% received comments and only one company took the trouble to reply to comments received.

The results of the annual study, which analyses the social media activity of the 2010 Deloitte Fast Tech 50 – a list of the UK’s 50 fastest growing technology companies, are revealed in a report entitled ‘How social are you?’. It also offers over 60 social media best practice tips and is available to download from www.emlwildfire.com/tech_social_media.

One of the most interesting findings this year was that the use of Facebook amongst B2B companies had skyrocketed in the last 12 months with 70% of B2B companies on the platform compared to just 40% previously. Overall, Linkedin was still the most popular network used (92%), followed by Twitter (80%). YouTube remained the least popular for the second year running (44%). Despite the increase in adoption, most companies were still only using these channels for ‘push’ marketing techniques with 65% of companies with a Facebook page using it for one way communications and 96% of blogs simply broadcasting article and news content without inviting responses.

B2B v B2C

As might be expected, B2C brands in the study were far more likely to engage with users than B2B companies. Of the B2C companies with a Facebook page, 63% used it to engage with consumers compared to just 22% of B2B companies. And, while the percentage of B2B tweets that were replies was only 7%, B2C rated much higher (35%).

Tech companies were also still failing to effectively integrate social media channels with their website. Only 58% of companies in the study had social media links on their homepage despite over 90% of companies having at least one social media site. Half of companies linked Twitter from their homepage, but only 14% linked to a YouTube page or blog.

Debby Penton, Director at EML Wildfire said: “The vast majority of businesses we speak to now accept that social media is something they should be doing. But we are still seeing confusion about how to approach these new channels and get the best out of them. It is therefore no surprise to see even some of the UK’s most successful tech businesses still struggling to adjust and approaching the situation with ‘old media’ mindsets.”

“Social media gives companies a unique opportunity to reach their audience directly.  But without the right strategy in place and the skills required to execute, brands could actually risk damaging their online reputation rather than harnessing the positive commercial impact that social media should and can deliver.”

In the report, EML Wildfire recommends a strategic approach that companies can take to gear themselves up for an effective social media strategy that will achieve results, based around the following five questions:

  1. What’s the objective?
  2. How will you build a community?
  3. What are you going to say?
  4. Who’s going to manage it?
  5. How will you measure success?

The full results of the research can be downloaded from www.emlwildfire.com/tech_social_media. You can follow EML Wildfire for the latest social media news and advice on Twitter –@EMLWildfire – or on the EML Wildfire Tech PR Blog.

Methodology

To get a clear picture of how technology companies were using social media, we selected companies listed in the 2010 Deloitte Fast Tech 50; a list of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK. The list is a combination of small and large companies from all corners of the technology industry, united by impressive growth figures in the last year. In theory, these businesses should be leading the way in terms of marketing strategy.

Each company underwent the same analysis process. Rather than just recording whether or not these organisations were on social networks, the report took an in-depth look at what they were saying and doing through social channels as well as how frequently they were engaging with their audience.

The companies assessed were: Autonomy Corporation plc, Beaming Ltd, Bglobal plc, Biome Technologies Ltd, Bloxx, BlueGnome Ltd, C4L, Cambridge Broadband Networks Ltd, ClinTec International, Concentra, Content and Code Ltd, DisplayLink (UK) Ltd, Export Technologies, Fjordnet Ltd, Fluidata, Focus 4 U Ltd, Forward Internet Group, Geo Networks, Global Personals Ltd, Gradwell Dot Com Ltd, Greenlight Marketing Ltd, Grove Information Systems Ltd, Gyron Internet Ltd, Heart Internet, Helveta Ltd, HostelBookers, Innovise plc, Intamac Systems Ltd, Jagex Ltd, Latens Systems Ltd, Leaf Consultancy, Lovefilm UK Ltd, M247 Ltd, Markit Group Holdings Ltd, Mimecast Ltd, Mobile Interactive Group (MIG), Moneybookers Ltd, Net Media Planet Ltd, Node4 Ltd, O-bit Telecom Ltd, Periscopix, Rehabstudio, Retail Eyes (UK) Ltd, Saffron Media Group Ltd, Skyscanner Ltd, TranslateMedia, TTG (southern) Ltd, Ubisense Trading Lts, UK Grid, Yudu Ltd.

About EML Wildfire

EML Wildfire is an independent UK-based B2B and consumer technology PR agency with a track record of campaigns across the UK, Europe, the USA and Asia. Our expertise covers the enterprise, communications, electronics, design services, cleantech, digital and semiconductor technology sectors.

We combine traditional media relations with social media skills and marketing expertise, offering results-driven, measurable PR programmes that build market authority, engage target audiences and create sales opportunities across multiple channels.

We are headquartered in South West London on the banks of the River Thames with a presence in Cambridge, the UK’s technology heartland.

You can follow EML Wildfire for the latest social media news and advice on Twitter – @EMLWildfire – or on the EML Wildfire Tech PR Blog.